Read Isaiah 11:1-16
“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious” (Is. 11:10).
Roots and stumps are not particularly exciting. Not unless the tree was believed to be dead and you discovered a shoot coming up out of the stump! When someone comes in with a chainsaw and cuts down a tree, that happens sometimes. Out from the stump come little branches — signs of life. If you hated the tree and were trying to eliminate it, those shoots are disappointing. If you loved the tree, though, and still want it around, you might find the shoots encouraging.
As Isaiah gave this prophecy, Israel must have seemed like a dead tree stump. Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army had invaded Jerusalem. Their military had carted Jews hundreds of miles off to captivity in Babylon. They had burned and destroyed much of the Jewish sacred city, including its protective wall and elaborate temple. The future of the nation must have seemed hopeless. To the Jews Israel must have seemed like a lifeless stump.
Do you have any hopeless stumps in your life? Dead ends you had hoped would be through-streets? Scraps of metal that, in your mind, were destined to become something valuable? Painful relational debris that, at one point, seemed to have the makings of something lasting?
Thankfully, Isaiah’s words bring hope. The root is still alive! And one day a shoot would come up out of the very area where the axe did its work. The “stump,” the “root,” and the “shoot” are identified as being “of Jesse.” He was the father of David, the greatest king up to that point. In other words, Isaiah is saying, “Not only will Israel be restored, but its best days are still ahead.” Jesus, a descendant of David, the hope of Advent, was going to come.
Through this shoot and root of Jesse, the nation of Israel will be gathered and restored. Nations will rally to Him. In His yet future kingdom, there will be peace and safety for all who follow Him.
Don’t let the discouraging stump experiences of your life cause you to give up hope. Jesus, the Root and Shoot of Jesse, will bring life, blessing, joy, and glory. This is the reason for Christmas.